Sunday, October 31, 2010

Scrooge - the ultimate minimalist?

Happy Halloween!  

Sort of.

In New Zealand, it is October 31st already.  So it is Halloween.  Except that in the Southern Hemisphere, we're heading into summer, not winter.

Dusk arrives after 8:30pm, especially on a perfect sunny day like today, and it isn't even slightly spooky until well after most little goblins should be tucked up into their beds.

This year, our only trick-or-treaters were my own children and one invited guest.  As an expatriate from the USA with fond memories of ghosts of Halloweens past, I made them change into different costumes from the dress-up box and knock on the door again for their meagre handsful of treats.  I had fun, and they got candy - fair trade.

But no other door-knockers.  In fact, Halloween goes in and out of fashion here, and it's hotly debated.  Clearly it's the wrong season, and it feels like it.  Apparently on talkback radio, the grumpers were grumping "It's American" or "it's so commercial!"

As American as...
It's Celtic, OK? The Halloween traditions date back from before America existed.  Ancient Britons, Scotland, Old English era...

I'm totally anti-commercial - you may have noticed.  But this argument gets trotted out at Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Christmas:  you name a holiday and yes, it has been commercialised by those people who hope you will buy more stuff
Someone please explain to me why this means we should stop celebrating?  Who has too much fun in their lives?  You can celebrate and have fun without spending much at all - at any holiday you choose...
Dressing up can be just plain fun, if you like it.  Having cute kids in costumes arriving in droves on your doorstep can be charming when it doesn't happen every day.
And I wish had a jellybean (coconut Jelly Belly please) for every time I've heard "But we tell our children never to take sweets from strangers so why do we send them around to strangers' houses on Halloween?"  Let me see - for the same reason that we don't slap sweets out of their hands when they catch one thrown from a parade?  Because it's different than having some random shuffler in a long coat offer a sweet and a ride to their house?

Good old non-commercial British celebrations only please!
For those anti-American traditionalists who would like to protect New Zealanders from having to shell out $10 for some Pascal family packs to soothe rampant hordes of greedy children, never fear!  A few days later, you will be celebrating Guy Fawkes Day, the great British tradition in remembrance of the man who...failed to blow up Parliament.

The main salute to Guy Fawkes (apart from burning him in effigy) is in the language of fireworks - that $10 doesn't go very far at the local "made in China" fireworks stands...

Keep the cats and the children indoors.  Brush up on your first aid and volunteer at your local Fire Department.  And have a happy holiday!
And now for something really scary...

We put DD down to bed with no nappy or pullup or anything tonight.  That's scary!

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